Sherri Lupton Hollister

Do Not Let Your Fears Defeat You

I have a confession to make. I’m a fraidy-cat. I am terrified of everything. I am afraid of trying and failing, but not trying is even worse, for that is definitely failure.

I tend to hem and haw, and toy with an idea until I make up my mind. Once I’ve decided on something I plow through until it is done. Right or wrong, I just put my head down and do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes this way. Rushing through a job that would have been better planned and executed according to a specific schedule. I’ve also waited around and missed my chance because I couldn’t or wouldn’t decide. Life is about risks. If you do not take a chance, you will never accomplish anything.

My dream is to be a published author. I have written since I was ten years old. My first story was, of course, a romance written in red ink, titled, “True Love.” All through high school I scribbled stories and ideas for stories. The first time I read my work out loud for a friend she blew me off, embarrassed and hurt I didn’t share my work again for many years. I hid my stories in notebooks under the bed, afraid to let them see the light of day.

When my “adopted” sister found out I wrote stories, she encouraged me to share my work. She liked it and was surprised that I could capture her feelings on the page. Being able to describe emotions and experiences so that the reader asks, how did you know? For me, that was when I knew I didn’t just want to write, I wanted to be published.

I am a fraidy-cat, sharing my writing is like standing naked in the Walmart parking lot yelling, “Look at me!” I sometimes feel as if I’ll swallow my tongue when I try to read my work. I think, “Why do they care? I’m not that good. They’re not interested in hearing what I have written.” But I have found as I opened my mouth and shared my stories, people began to listen. They started to care about what I had to say and about my stories. They related to my characters.

I grew up believing traditional publishing was the only way to go. When I first started sending my stories to publishers and agents, they had to be printed and mailed. Does that tell you how long I’ve been working towards this dream? The past few years I’ve come close with articles published in magazines and stories and essays in published in anthologies. I’ve attracted the attention of a couple of agents even working with one for almost two years but still I’m unpublished. After breaking up with my agent, I realized I had to really get in there and make my dream happen, no one was going to do it for me.

Between my mentor, published friends and my family, I have pulled up my big girl panties, strapped on my leathers and stepped up to face myself in the mirror. I’m terrified but I’m ready. Once the story was edited (AGAIN) and my readers said it was ready to go, I began working towards self-publishing. Author-friends who have self/indie published, some of whom have also traditionally published, tell me it is the way to go. So much of the promoting falls on the writer’s shoulders so why not do it all the way you want to do it.

So, I’m battling the fraidy-cat and standing up to let my voice be heard. I am a writer and soon, I’ll be a published author. Don’t let your fears rob you of your dreams, if I can do it, so can you!


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